Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday commute xcvi: send in the gondolas

The two gondolas that the Venetian
senate had given Charles [II] the
year before were brought down [to 
Hampton Court] on 6 June, and the 
king and queen floated blithely on
the canal.

I fear, I illustrate with a handsomer
account of things than they were. It
is a defect of being one's own editor,
and almost epidemic in the era of ret-
inal screens. In fact, this was one of
the sorrier honeymoons since Oedipus
bedded his mother, but there's something
about a guy who can commission his gon-
dolas to be sent downriver, to soothe
a spouse's jealousy of his lover, which
seems symmetrically Saturday, somehow.

Beyond that, the rise of the English bar-
oque was a really cool time for another
aspect of its recurring pertinence: its
exuberant inequality portrayed a confid-
ence that nothing could seem expensive,
ever again. Why, only the other day, an
entertainer in our baseball industry was
placed under contract at the replacement
cost of the Plaza Hotel; and with that,
one can float pretty blithely on the canal.

Jenny Uglow
A Gambling Man
  Charles II's Restoration Game
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009©

Mathias Lauridsen for Lanvin and van Noten

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